Friday, March 20, 2009

Updated Nationals WAR

Plus Joe Beimel, Julian Tavarez, and a little more Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann, minus Shawn Hill, Gary Glover, and Wil Ledezma, the Nationals are projected to win just a bit fewer than 77 wins as a team, according to the FJB exclusive wins above replacement analysis. You can check out the dirty math here.

The calculations are based on CHONE hitters projections and PECOTA pitchers projections. As of February 14, before these moves, the Nationals were also a hair under 77 wins. In other words, dumping Hill and upgrading the bullpen is a wash.

C Jesus Flores 70% .296 0 0.80
C Wil Nieves 30% .288 0 0.20
1B Nick Johnson 50% .399 7.38 2.79
1B Adam Dunn 50% .373 -13.21 0.99
2B Ron Belliard 50% .331 0.06 1.13
2B A. Hernandez 50% .288 12.68 0.46
SS Cristian Guzman 85% .326 -3.6 1.78
SS Alberto Gonzalez 15% .288 6.72 0.12
3B Ryan Zimmerman 85% .371 15.11 5.23
3B Ron Belliard 15% .331 -8.94 0.20
RF Elijah Dukes 65% .369 6.85 2.74
RF Austin Kearns 35% .341 15.16 1.17
CF Lastings Milledge 70% .348 -8.47 1.71
CF Willie Harris 30% .330 11.85 1.01
LF Adam Dunn 35% .373 -15.7 1.13
LF Josh Willingham 65% .362 -15.03 1.06



SP Scott Olsen 190 4.42 2.26
SP Daniel Cabrera 190 4.31 2.49
SP John Lannan 180 4.38 2.22
SP Collin Balester 90 5.49 0.01
SP Shairon Martis 100 5.19 0.34
SP Jordan Zimmermann 100 4.39 1.22
SP Jason Bergmann 20 4.75 0.17
CL Joel Hanrahan 70 4.28 0.17
SU Saul Rivera 70 4.09 0.32
RP Steven Shell 60 4.35 0.10
RP Julian Tavarez 60 4.57 -0.05
RP Jesus Colome 60 4.7 -0.13
RP Joe Beimel 70 4.09 0.32
RP Terrell Young 40 6.97 -1.09
RP Garrett Mock 50 5.05 -0.30
RP Mike Hinckley 20 5.71 -0.27
RP Jason Bergmann 70 4.75 -0.19

Total 1440


JayB said...


I love reading your stuff, but this why I do not trust it in the least. Hill would not pitch so what is the point of that prediction. Beimel is a huge upgrade from Ledezma....if the stats doing show it the that tells me the stats don't determine the game.

Steven said...

I have to say that I'm really disappointed by how many Nationals fans seem to genuinely revel in Hill's struggles. It's just plain jerky. Who ever that dickhead was on the Boz chat the other day saying, "hey if we can dump Hill why can't we dump Johnson too!" ought to go root for the Phillies like most other jerk baseball fans.

As for your comment, Jay, your claim that "Hill would not pitch" is really not fair at all. He says his arm feels good. Why are you so unfairly cynical about that? Even last year when he admitted that he felt pain all year he gave us 63 innings. And he did that with a 4.98 tRA*, which means that he deserved an ERA about .40 less than this, or 4.58, which is about a run better than replacement, which means he gave us 0.6 wins above replacement last year in even that limited year.

And Beimel last year gave the Dodgers 0.7 wins above replacement.

Hence, it's a wash.

JayB said...

Hill was just earlier in his yearly have been around long enough to know the routine. He is hurt....nobody knows why.....he goes to experts....they find something to fix....he rehabs hard....he feels better than ever....he pitches one or two innings and starts to feel pain.....he rests....he pitches again and starts to feel pain and they cycle starts all over again.....I hove Hill....some things were just not meant to be.

On the stats...I know ERA is not the has issues as to ALL stats....but his ERA was very close to 6 but that is not the is being able to pitch and how you come to the conclusion that this year is different I do not know.

On the Above replacement stuff....every team has different needs and every team is in a different place in its development cycle. In the Micro view I do not buy that Beimel on the Red Sox is worth the same value as he will be on the Nats......That does not make sense to me.

I do agree that Hill is a very unlucky person and any personal attack is pointless.

JayB said...


Are you trying to say that 60 -70 Innings of Hill, a right handed starter who does not go deep in games (assuming he even starts them), has the same value to a team as 60-70 innings of Left Handed 8th inning set up work?

If so, fine but to me that is one of the prime examples of why your spread sheet form of baseball is so clueless to me. They are two completely different parts of a complex baseball game and their value is vastly different in the determination the winner of the game.

Steven said...

ERA is a really flawed stat that in such sample sizes is wildly skewed by luck, bullpen performance stranding runners, park effect, fielding, arbitrary definitions of what's an earned run and what's not... Hill's BABIP was .373. Only 63% of runners were stranded. Those are not repeatable skills. That's why FIP, tRA*, or whatever advanced metric you want to choose says that Hill's ERA is a totally misleading measure of his performance.

Shawn Hill was the best pitcher on the team. Also the most injury prone, but the best. Zimmermann might be better at some point, but not now.

What are the chances that he'd give us 20-30 starts? Probably 5-10%. I dunno. But what are the odds that Gustavo Chacin can give us 20-30 starts of Shawn Hill quality. It's less than zero. Same goes for Balester, Martis, Bergmann, or pretty much whoever else you want to suggest.

We're a worse team without Hill. I just can't understand fans who are so impatient with players injuries that they would rather use roster spots on healthy but crap-ass players like Tyler Clippard.

Steven said...

Re: starters v. relievers. Yes, basically that's what I'm saying.

Here's an important thing you're missing: it's easier to relieve than it is to start. The average pitcher will see his ERA drop by a full run by simply being shifted to the bullpen.

Replacement level for RPs is 4.50 ERA. For starters, it's 5.50. In the NL last year, the average starter ERA was 4.41. Relievers were 4.09. Considering that starters are generally better pitchers than relievers this is quite striking. One would expect that since starters as a group are better pitchers that they would have a lower ERA. Not so, however. Why? It's harder to start than it is to relieve.

So if Hill had given the Nationals his Bill James projection (just for example) of 75 innings with a 4.08 ERA, and Beimel give us his BJ projection of 3.98 and 52 innings, Hill would be a FAR more valuable player to the team, because he'd be giving us pitching that is .33 runs better than average and 1.42 runs better than replacement for his position, while Beimel would be just .11 runs better than average and 0.52 better than replacement.

And don't forget, Bill James ran that projection with the assumption that Beimel would be used primarily as a LOOGY (he projects 71 appearances and 52 innings--that means he's mainly pitching partial innings against left-handed batters). Since Beimel has a career 72-point OPS platoon split we have to assume that being used as an 8th inning set-up man will push that ERA up pretty significantly.

JayB said...

Interesting stuff.

Yet flawed logic in my view. Starting vs. Relieving is not eithier harder or easier but just different value to a team because it comes at a different time in the game. 8th inning runs given up are a much bigger problem than 1st inning runs given up.

On Hill...your 5-10% likelihood of him getting 30 starts tell it all. It was not going to happen show it has to be replaced by someone. Holding on to Hill does not protect us against innings to Balister or Chacin.....Projecting wins on hill pitching 75 innings is pointless. Comparing wins on as a "wash" between having Hill on the team vs Beimel just shows you do not understand the flow of a baseball game or the effect on team moral (or the likelihood of a win) of a run given up in the 1st inning vs. a run given up in a tie game in the 8th.

Still I am learning a lot with your stats...and they are fine in the Macro view across all teams and large data sources.....I just do not buy the micro Hill vs. Beimel stuff on 75 innings in two different roles on a team.

Hendo said...

Here's the plumb fact: the Nats pitching staff has much more downside than upside. Even given that good pitching is a skill more rare and delicate than good hitting or good defense, the outlook for the Nats' staff is dismal at best. And that's after you excise Cordero, Rauch, Ayala, Perez, Redding and now Hill. (It was even worse before.)

The team is going to have to keep working at it, even as they bank on the durability of Martis and J-Zimm and dream about Strasburg.

Steven said...

Your point on the importance of the innings pitched is a good one, and it's something that must be taken into account. It's what statheads call "leverage." However, you're overstating it's importance if you think that it's going to make Joe Beimel more valuable than a starting pitcher who gives us similar innings with similar ERA.

If you're talking about a true ace reliever who is going to be used for absolute maximum leverage AND pitch very well, you can get to a point where an RP has similar value to a good SP. And you're right that there is at least some anecdotal evidence that while relieving in general is easier than starting, that pitching with the game on the line is a different beast, and some guys just don't have the stomach for it.

Here's the thing though... average leverage is 1.0. Think of that as the importance of the first batter in the game, tie score, 0-0, no outs... perfectly neutral situation. That's every starting pitcher's leverage.

On average, a closer has leverage of 1.8--quite a bit more important than starters. A set up man, usually around 1.3, a little more, but not much more, important than a starter. EVERY OTHER RP in the 'pen typically has average leverage LESS than starters'. For a team like the Nationals that will have relatively fewer leads to protect, the closer and set-up mens' leverage is going to be less than average. That's not their fault, but it is a fact. Chad Cordero for instance had leverage of 1.6 in 2006 and 2007 as a pure closer on a bad team.

So it's fair to assume that at best Beimel will have leverage of maybe 1.15 or 1.2 AT MOST if he's really used as a pure set-up man. If he's rotated in and out of that role, then his leverage would be at best even with a starters'.

Still, that only makes up a bit of the difference in the fact that it IS easier to relieve than start (shorter outings allow you to give more max effort, hitters don't see you a second or third time... this is all really non-controversial stuff among stathead and non-statheads alike.)

And don't forget, if Beimel is used in this way, his ERA is going to jump, probably by half a run or more. He might be our second best reliever, but he really ought to be used in a more match-up favorable way. I don't personally like the pure LOOGY concept to begin with--carrying a guy just to literally come in and get one out I think is a luxury only teams with 3 or more 200 innings-plus horses in the rotation can afford, and that ain't the Nationals!! But regardless that's how Beimel has been used, and you have to account for that in your expectations this year.

Steven said...

Hendo's right, and it's a good reality check. We have a looooong way to go any way you cut it.

JayB said...

I think the pitching is going to be better this year than last. I thnik the pitching will improve as the year goes on. I do not see it as the train wreck Hendo seems to be pointing to.

I am glad to learn about "leverage" and while I think it still needs more work the concept is correct.

I agree physically starting is harder....that is why you get so much rest between starts.....I do not agree that the value of the ERA or whatever stat you want to use is greater.

Leverage of 1.3 for a 8th inning setup man with the game on the line seems low....1.8 for for a closer may be high....I see them more or less the same in the games I watch.

Steven said...

1.3 is lower than the leverage index of pitching in the 8th inning with a 1-run lead with the game on the line.

But set-up men don't always pitch in that situation. They get their share of blow-outs or 8th innings with 3-run leads or whatever.

But you're right if there was a way to only use Beimel in 8th innings with 1-run leads, his LI would be more like a closer's.

JayB said...

Understood and if I could just get you to take a bet on Hill pitching 70 innings of MLB baseball this year....make that any MLB innings or 20 or more MiLB.....say a beer at the Red Porch in Late August (when it will taste really good and almost worth the $18 bet)?

Steven said...

I'm not betting Hill will go 70 innings. But I'll make this bet--Shawn Hill will have more value than the 5th best starter on the Nationals.

You pick whichever of these metrics you like:
Value Wins

I'll bet you the Nationals will not have 5 pitchers who start more than they relieve who beat Hill in these categories.

JayB said...

Hill would have to pitch in the ML's to get any of those numbers this year right? I say he will be hurt and not pitch this year or any year in the Major leagues....I understand he has good numbers when he pitches....the issue always was.....Will he pitch? My answer is no. Bet stands as is....will he pitch?

Sorry for so many posts….waiting on home improvement contractors…maybe the economy is picking up?